A national survey of clinic sexual histories for sexually transmitted infection and HIV screening

Ann E. Kurth, King K. Holmes, Renee Hawkins, Matthew R. Golden

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Optimal elements of a sexual history for sexually transmitted infection (STI) and HIV risk assessment remain undefined. Goal: The goal of this study was to describe sexual histories in use at STI clinics across the United States. Study: This study consisted of a cross-sectional survey of facilities in cities with populations > 200,000 (n = 65). Within each city, a public health STI clinic (71% of the sample) or other STI care facility (29%) was randomly selected and sexual history forms were requested. Information was obtained from 48 clinics (74% response). Results: Most forms recorded information on symptoms and prior STI (96%), condom use (88%), other contraception (85%), and numbers and gender (83%) of sex partners. Common HIV risk questions were injecting drug use (IDU; 94%), sex for drugs or money (58%), and sex with an HIV-positive or IDU partner (52%). Ascertainment of time during which risks occurred (contact periods) varied from the past 14 days to the past 12 months, with only 38% of clinics using any 1 time period. Few histories (17%) incorporated questions for men who have sex with men (MSM). Only 2 (4%) had space to record Information about sexual behaviors by the HIV status of the sex partner. Condom use was infrequently assessed specifically for vaginal and anal sex (13%), and condom use problems were rarely explored (10%). Most forms documented STI/HIV counseling, although few (25%) included specific risk reduction plans. Conclusions: Sexual histories are highly variable. Although challenging to accomplish, STI/HIV care, surveillance, and prevention may be improved by developing consensus on core questions to be used in sexual histories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)370-376
Number of pages7
JournalSexually Transmitted Diseases
Volume32
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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